Transmission medium problems.

That’s the message you would have gotten on the screen if you were trying to stream the series finale for Game of Thrones (GoT)…in China.

People couldn’t stream GoT on Tencent, who has the exclusive on the show.

As reported by The Verge,

An HBO spokesperson told the [Wall Street] Journal the network had no issue with transmitting the episode, but Tencent was restricted from airing it by the Chinese government because of ongoing trade disputes with the United States.

Fans in China got to watch the finale a bit later than everyone else.

I’m a huge fan of the books — and the serial — but to be honest, I haven’t watched the serial’s last season yet. It’s been quite hard to avoid the spoilers…

Tension rises between US and China

But things are getting tense between the US and China in the last few weeks, and I’m not only referring to Game of Thrones.

US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency from threats to American tech. He signed an executive order banning US companies from using foreign telecommunications equipment. Companies that would be considered a national risk.

Trump then blacklisted Chinese company Huawei. Companies like Google and Intel have suspended business ties with Huawei. Huawei won’t have access to Android from Google or any of its updates in the future.

It seems the company was kind of expecting this. They already have a Plan B in place and had been working on developing their own operating system.

Trump has since lifted the ban for 90 days to allow Huawei to get ready for the transition.

As we wrote yesterday, Chinese companies have been increasingly venturing into the global arena. And this trade war is more than about trade. It’s spilling into other areas, like GoT…and tech.

From Business Insider:

Joseph Campbell, a director in the global investigations and compliance practice at Navigant Consulting and formerly assistant director of criminal investigations at the FBI, says the Huawei fight is a proxy for bigger US fears about China’s ambition.

‘“We don’t know as private citizens all the intelligence information the US and its allies have gathered relative to China and Huawei,” Campbell told Business Insider during a phone interview. “But… there’s no doubt China is a significant threat for the United States, they are committed to becoming a lead economic and military power in the world.”

‘“Data is power,” he added. “Eventually Huawei could be in the position where it could interfere with data traffic, sharing usage, or even engaging in proactive activity to extract that information and use it for their own benefit.”

At the centre of the Huawei ban is 5G

5G is the next generation of wireless connectivity that will allow for faster download speeds and Huawei is one of the leaders in this.

5G will mean even faster download speeds. But, it is not just that. 5G will create a whole new ball game. With 5G, the latency (or time delay) drops, which allows for faster response times.

Most of the wireless versions we’ve had before were mostly to enable ‘human to human’ connections. 5G will allow for ‘smart devices’ to connect and communicate between each other through artificial intelligence…without the need for humans.

It will allow for self-driving cars, virtual intelligence and even remote robotics to happen.

And, as we wrote back in February, we expect this US–China conflict will be fought in several fronts, like 5G. Here is what we wrote:

‘[T]there is a Cold War-esque conflict going on. And the proxy wars are getting fought everywhere: space, Venezuela…and we expect that 5G will be another front.

In fact, in a recent report by the US Electromagnetic Defense Taskforce, they noted 5G development could be crucial. […]

As the US-China trade deadline is fast approaching, keep in mind that tensions aren’t only about trade. The two powers are facing off over economic, technology and military domination. 

That’s why we think that any agreement may only be a temporary “patch”.’

Geopolitical games are increasing. The Thucydides trap is closing in…

The silver lining in all of this, in my opinion, is that with the US election looming, Trump may not want to rattle things too much until then.

But tensions will surely continue to grow in the next years.

And Australia would be caught right in the middle.


Selva Freigedo,
Editor, Markets & Money

Selva Freigedo is an analyst with a background in financial economics. Born and raised in Argentina, she has also lived in Brazil, the US and Spain. She has seen economic troubles firsthand, from economic booms to collapses and the effects of hyperinflation, high unemployment, deposit freezes and debt default. Selva now writes from her vantage point here in Australia. She is an editor for Markets & Money and every week goes through each report and research note produced by our global network of trusted advisors to find, in her opinion, the best investment opportunities for you in Australia and overseas. She packages these opportunities for you in Global Investor.

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